British voters oppose cheap Australian beef trade deal
British voters oppose cheap Australian beef trade deal amid claims Liz Truss is trying to push through agreement before new food watchdog is up and running
- Claims Liz Truss is trying to railroad controversial agreement through
- Boris Johnson will defy voters by pressing ahead with Australian trade deal
- Ms Truss faced a flood of protests from farmers earlier this month
- Government could sign deal to bring Australian beef into the UK market
Boris Johnson will be defying British voters if he presses ahead with a trade deal with Australia that sells out the nation’s farmers, a new poll reveals.
The warning comes amid claims that International Trade Secretary Liz Truss is trying to railroad the controversial agreement through before a promised new food and trade watchdog is up and running.
Ms Truss faced a flood of protests from farmers earlier this month after The Mail on Sunday revealed the Government was on the brink of signing a deal that could see tariff-free Australian beef flooding the UK market.
Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers’ Union, warned that the deal would make it almost impossible for British family farms to ‘compete with vast volumes of imports from the Southern Hemisphere produced in a very different manner’.
Despite the concerns, the Prime Minister has now thrown his weight behind Ms Truss by insisting that the agreement was a fantastic opportunity for British farmers to exploit post-Brexit markets around the world.
Liz Truss faced a flood of protests from farmers earlier this month after The Mail on Sunday revealed the Government was on the brink of signing a deal that could see tariff-free Australian beef flooding the UK market (file image)
But a new poll has revealed that a majority of British voters back protecting our farmers over new trade deals.
The Opinium survey reported that 61 per cent of people want British farmers to get priority, with only 20 per cent agreeing that new trade deals were more important.
The poll, for pro-internationalist group Best For Britain, said support for farmers was found across both people who had backed leaving the EU in 2016 and Remainers.
The survey, based on a nationally-representative poll of more than 1,500 voters last week, comes amid mounting concern that details of the proposed deal are being unveiled before a long-promised new trade and agriculture watchdog is operating.
In a major concession last year to The Mail on Sunday’s Save Our Family Farms campaign, the Government vowed to put a Trade and Agriculture Commission ‘on a full statutory footing’ to scrutinise future trade agreements.
But MPs are now demanding to know why the new body had still not been set up. Senior Tory MP Neil Parish, chairman of the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, wrote to Ms Truss to ask why the Commission’s membership was still not in place when ‘all the while, the clock is ticking, negotiations are on-going with Australia, and we need the Commission to be in place as a matter of urgency’.
In a major concession last year to The Mail on Sunday’s Save Our Family Farms campaign, the Government vowed to put a Trade and Agriculture Commission ‘on a full statutory footing’ to scrutinise future trade agreements. Pictured, Ms Truss
He also warned that Parliament could not be ‘unsighted’ on the principles of the deal and had to be reassured ‘that any deal… will uphold our high domestic production standards on imported meat, especially from Australia’.
Emily Thornberry, Labour’s international trade spokesman, said: ‘There is no credible explanation for the delay in setting up the statutory Commission other than Liz Truss wanting to avoid its scrutiny.’
Naomi Smith, chief executive of Best For Britain, said: ‘Any trade deal agreed with Australia must receive proper scrutiny and approval by Parliament.’
Sources close to Ms Truss said they were not dragging their feet on the new body or trying to avoid scrutiny.
They insisted farmers would benefit from trade deals and said Ms Truss was doing ‘brilliant work’ to improve access for Britain’s world-class food to ‘the fast-growing consumer markets’ in the Asia-Pacific region.
Source: Read Full Article